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A Time of Uncertain Risk for Benefit Plan Fiduciaries

By Tim McClellan, RPLU, AFSB, ARM

clock October 30, 2017 at 10:00 AM

Beginning in 1974, with the advent of The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), those who manage employer benefit plans are considered fiduciaries acting on behalf of participants and beneficiaries are subject to specific standards of conduct.

The standards of conduct required by ERISA are separated into four primary categories:

  • Duty of Loyalty – Be loyal to participants and beneficiaries
  • Duty of Prudence – Be prudent in making decisions
  • Duty of Diversify – Offer a variety of investments
  • Duty to Follow Plan Documents – Adhere to plan documents

Fiduciaries agree to make decisions about employee benefits in the best interest of plan participants. The law sees the responsibility as the fiduciary’s, at times holding them personally accountable, negatively impacting their personal assets. 

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Topics: Employee Benefits

Helping Reduce Type 2 Diabetes for Beyond Benefits Members

By Nicole Mehrara, Principal, Employee Benefits Division

clock October 2, 2017 at 10:00 AM

Marsh & McLennan Agency and Anthem Blue Cross’ partnership is bringing value to Beyond Benefits Trust clients and their employees through the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP). With 90 percent of diabetes diagnoses being Type 2, the disease is a dangerous and growing crisis worldwide*. As part of our dedication to deliver innovative and quality healthcare, the DPP will provide educational awareness to employees while empowering them to improve their long term health.

We kicked off the program in August and reached over 10,000 members in the Trust. Employees that chose to engage in the program determined if they prefer to meet weekly online or in a classroom setting for 16 weeks and then monthly for the balance of a year. The program teaches participants to make lasting lifestyle changes by eating healthier, increasing physical activity, and improving coping skills. By providing employees with tools such as a wireless scale or an activity tracker, support through small groups, weekly lessons, and access to a personal health coach, small changes will start to make a big difference!

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Topics: Employee Benefits

The Benefits Tech Trust: A Better Solution for Employee Benefits

By Todd Bennett, Principal

clock June 26, 2017 at 10:00 AM

As a small or mid-sized business, we understand a top priority is to make your money go further. When it comes to securing employee benefits insurance, health care pricing options are typically limited for smaller groups.

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Topics: Employee Benefits

Trust Member Saves $180K Annually with CharterShield School Benefits Trust

By Pedro Reyes, Principal

clock April 17, 2017 at 10:00 AM

You heard right. Compared to the direct market or offers from alternative brokers, our client Community Collaborative is saving approximately $180,000 per year by joining the CharterShield School Benefits Trust. Under the trust structure, employers qualify for large group rates, regardless of their size.

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Topics: Employee Benefits, Market Trends

Beyond Benefits Celebrates Historic Rate Decrease

By Erin Schultze, Client Executive, Trust Services

clock March 20, 2017 at 10:00 AM

This year, Beyond Benefits members experienced a 1.4% employee benefits rate decrease, while other life science companies outside of the trust are seeing double digit increases. To celebrate the program’s continued success, Beyond Benefits members joined MMA, Biocom and Anthem Blue Cross for a post-renewal celebration. Check out the video below for more information.

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Topics: Employee Benefits, Health Care Reform, Market Trends

Health Care Reform – Wrapping Up 2016

By Christopher K. Bao, Regulatory Compliance Manager

clock December 5, 2016 at 10:00 AM

In 2016, many employers anticipated significant changes or, at least, clarification on Health Care Reform.  For the most part, the feds made no substantial changes nor released any major clarification on requirements. However, employers were impacted by some minor developments in the law.  

The most notable developments included:

  • Paid sick leave was a huge trend, with many states and municipalities implementing legislation to increase the amount of paid time off.
  • The government further developed the Affordable Care Act’s non-discrimination goal, and helped provide paid sick leave to government contractors.
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Topics: Employee Benefits, Legislative Compliance

A Small Group Benefits Solution for Charter Schools

By Pedro Reyes, Charter School Practice Group Leader

clock September 26, 2016 at 10:00 AM

Since January 1, 2016, employers with 51-100 benefit eligible employees are considered small group employers. As a newly labeled “small business,” you may see rate increases of 20-30%, depending on your group, if you haven’t already.

Why the big jump in rates?

The change is tied to rules that apply to small groups. Small groups are charged with what the insurance industry calls “age-banded” rates. Age-banded simply means age-based. In other words, cost is assessed for the age of each employee and spouse in the group. The shift adds another obstacle in the quest to offer affordably priced health care coverage.

If you are one of these employers, the following is a quick summary of things to be aware of.

For all renewals moving forward, employers with 51 to 100 benefit eligible employees will:

  1. Move from large group to small group
  2. Pay medical rates based on each family member’s age and not the employee’s age
  3. Have rates based on the ZIP code of the employer (instead of the employees’ residential zip codes)
  4. Potentially lose online administration of benefit eligibility
  5. Cease to receive underwriting discounts for industry and favorable employee demographics

Solution for CharterShield School Employers

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Topics: Employee Benefits

It’s Not A Typo. Employee Benefit Rates Are Actually Going Down For Some Life Science And Biotech Companies.

By Madalyn Altschuler, Manager, MarketLink & Benefits Communications

clock September 13, 2016 at 10:05 AM

At a time when employee benefits are rising at almost double-digit rates, how is it possible for rates to be dropping for some firms?

You just need to belong to Beyond Benefits.

The window of opportunity, however, is quickly closing. Deadline for enrollment in the trust and access to below market rates is September 30, 2016.

Founded by BIOCOM in partnership with Marsh & McLennan Agency, Beyond Benefits enables life science and biotech companies to pool their purchasing power and secure employee benefit rates similar to organizations with a large number of employees.

In 2017, the 198 members of Beyond Benefits will see a 1.4% rate reduction. Meanwhile, companies not participating in Beyond Benefits will likely face an average rate increase of 9.2%* in 2017.

Since 2012, Beyond Benefits has saved member companies more than $89 million in medical premiums, or about $6 million annually. More than 6,500 biotech and life sciences employees are covered by the program.

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Topics: Employee Benefits, Market Trends

How to Save Your Benefits Program, Your Sanity, and a Tree

By Chloe Seipel, Employee Benefits Communication Coordinator

clock August 2, 2016 at 7:45 AM

For growing companies, providing competitive benefits is more than a luxury.  It’s often the difference between bringing in and keeping the talented employees you need to run your organization.  And once your benefit program is in place, its value is only as strong as your employees’ understanding of and use of those benefits. 

Employees and Human Resources teams are busy.  Put all that busy-ness together and it’s easy to see why informing employees about all they need to know about their benefits can be a challenge. Scatter employees across different locations and the challenge multiplies. 

One of our growing, multi-state pharmaceutical clients was feeling this pain more than ever, stuck in the habit of providing 40-page printed benefit guides. With 450 employees spread throughout multiple locations across the US, these guides had to be mailed to each office, sometimes only to sit unopened on employees’ desks. Any time the company needed to update the benefit information, new guides had to be printed and re-distributed across the different locations all over again.

Recognizing our client’s need for a better solution, our employee benefits team recommended a digital solution: MMA'a proprietary iBenefits app for mobile phones. iBenefits would allow the company to easily send the latest benefits information directly to their employees’ mobile phones or iPads. The client decided to give it a go and MMA provided them with a myriad of employee communication materials to promote the app. The iBenefits mobile app quickly became an effective solution, giving employees real-time access to their benefits and improving employee engagement with the benefits process. And the employees loved it.

With iBenefits, this employer is now able to:

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Topics: Employee Benefits

How to Keep Your Employees Happy—Part 2: Make Benefits Enrollment Easy

By Madalyn Altschuler, Manager, MarketLink & Benefits Communications

clock June 13, 2016 at 10:00 AM

Researchers in the social sciences are seeking to understand the components that create the elusive condition we call happiness.   The happiness factor is coming into play in the work arena as well with studies showing the importance of job satisfaction in retention of top talent. As discussed in How to Keep Your Employees Happy—Part 1: Quality Benefits, studies suggest that employee benefits play an important role in the overall satisfaction employees experience in their jobs.

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Topics: Employee Benefits, Human Resources

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